Welcome back to the home of Paranormal & Dauntless Romance. Today is Thursday and that means it’s time to start flashing. We’re in the middle of our ninth year of weekly prompts. It’s amazing we’ve gone this long! This is Week 492 of #ThursThreads, the challenge that ties tales together. Want to keep up each week? Check out the #ThursThreads #flashfiction group on Facebook and the Group on MeWe.
Need the rules? Read on.
Here’s how it works:
- The prompt is a line from the previous week’s winning tale.
- The prompt can appear ANYWHERE in your story and is included in your word count.
- The prompt must be used as is. It can be split, but no intervening words can be inserted or tenses changed.
Rules to the Game:
- This is a Flash Fiction challenge, which means your story must be a minimum of 100 words, maximum of 250.
- The story must be new writing, not a snippet from something published elsewhere with the prompt added.
- Incorporate the prompt anywhere into your story (included in your word count).
- Post your story in the comments section of this post
- Include your word count in the post (or be excluded from judging)
- Include your Twitter handle or email in the post (so we don’t have to look for you)
- The challenge is open 7 AM to 8 PM Mountain Time
- The winner will be announced on Friday, depending on how early the judge gets up.
How it benefits you:
- You get a nifty cool badge to display on your blog or site (because we’re all about promotion – you know you are!)
- You get instant recognition of your writing prowess on this blog!
- Your writing colleagues shall announce and proclaim your greatness on Facebook, Twitter, MeWe, and Google Plus, etc.
Our Judge for Week 492:
Computer geek, bass player, historical reenactor, and flashfiction writer, Mary Decker.
And now your #ThursThreads Challenge, tying tales together.
“Any volunteers to put him out of his misery?”
All stories written herein are the property (both intellectual and physical) of the authors. Comments do not represent the views of the host and the host reserves the right to remove any content. Now, away with you, Flash Fiction Fanatics, and show us your #ThursThreads. Good luck!
11 Replies to “#ThursThreads – Tying Tales Together – Week 492”
The man lay crumpled on the ground, as bloodied by sword and arrow as he was from what looked like a wagon having rolled over him after he’d fallen.
Sighing, the chaplain watched as blood frothed on the warrior’s lips. No matter how faintly, life was yet in his body, so he couldn’t have him tossed into the pit to be burned with the rest. The fact that the warrior had lived thus far was a miracle in and of itself.
“Are there any volunteers to put him out of his misery? We need to be back to the king’s retinue by sunset, and we’ve wasted enough time looking for survivors on our side. I’m not wasting supplies or energy on the enemy.”
A young woman— she must have been a new healer to join the army as he didn’t know her name— lifted her arm. “I’ll stay behind to end his misery. He doesn’t have long anyway. Go on without me. I’ll catch up.”
She waited until the last of the horses had crossed out of the valley and then settled her hands on his chest. “My lord, you know you shouldn’t have been out with them. Only the fact that I killed one of theirs and stole the robes got me to you on time.” Why her people’s king was on the battlefield was a mystery she would deal with after healing him. “Goddess, heal my king.” Magic poured through her. He would live, by luck alone.
“Pain heightens,” he said. “We’re pushed through a hole of pain as we come into the world.” He paced, ignoring the chains rattling as his prisoner shuddered. “In life,” he continued, “we learn through pain, and then death,” he gesticulated with a weak rotation of his wrist, “is the finale.”
A woman in a flowing red gown, masked in black lace, sashayed across the chamber pushing a wheeled cart with an array of scary instruments. There was pep in her step. “Any volunteers to put him out of his misery?”
The silence in the room was total, save for the heavy breathing of the prisoner.
The man searched for any upward pointed eyes. “Someone must do it.”
“Fine,” he spit. Turning to his prisoner, he asked with blunt precision. “How do you want to die?”
The prisoner shuddered again, sweat beading across his pale forehead. “I’ve always wondered,” he stammered, “what it would be like to bleed to death.”
A heartbeat later, a sharp instrument stung the air, and the prisoner’s throat spewed crimson down his chest. Gagging, wet sounds. Silence. Still.
Until it wasn’t.
Death reversed in slow motion before the group of students, blood snaking back into the prisoner, his chest moving again, his wounds growing shut as if they’d never been. He coughed, lungs eager for breath.
The man’s eyes grew darker as he smiled—all teeth. “Who’s next?”
The next person raised their hand.
141 words @AngoraShade
As I was sparring with Terry Kane about her ex-husband Frank’s various deficits, her seventeen-year-old daughter stepped out of the Kandy Shoppe.
“Mom, I need a break.”
“Okay Pepper,” Terry answered, “Give me a minute.”
“FINE!” the delightful teen said and whirled back into the Shoppe.
“Pepper?” I asked.
“Peppermint. Frank insisted. Always thinking is that man…”
I nodded. Salt of the Earth, old Frankie. It was a sweet name though.
“So, “ I continued, “you have any clue where Frank might be located?”
“Maybe. It’s just…it’s almost Christmas.”
“That it is, “ I bemoaned. “December 16th. Frank’s a Christmassy guy?”
I tried to hide my shock. And failed. “Yeah,” she continued, “Last twenty years, a December gig. He really gets into it.”
“Year before last it was Lakeview Mall. With Covid, nothing last year. This year, maybe Lakeview. They might know. I hear there’s a shortage.”
Tragic, I thought.
I thanked her and trucked on over to the Lakeview Mall. Suburban Malls. Not my favourite places.
I masked up and scurried through the wasteland of shoppers. A security guard pointed to the empty Santa display. “Elves showed up. Santa’s AWOL.”
I headed to Personnel.
Jake Finnegan ran their HR.
“Frank’s eager but he’s a flake.”
“So I’ve heard,” I commiserated.
“Nervous too. Sweating, two-day beard when I interviewed him in November.”
“Any volunteers to put him out of his misery?”
“Most everyone who knows him,” Jake added.
“Add me to the list,” I said.
Sade stared, slightly horrified and greatly amused. Nikos Constantine, Drakon of Klan Kholikikos, stood surrounded by screaming children. He wore dungarees and white rubber boots, like the gator hunters on “Swamp People.” His shirt sported red and white vertical stripes and a wide-brimmed straw hat adorned his head. His stern—and handsome—features were partially obscured by a black handlebar mustache and a white beard. A bonfire burned on the bayou levee behind him.
Choking back laughter, Caleb refused to meet her gaze. They’d both lose it if they made eye contact. “Any volunteers to put him out of his misery?”
Sinjen raised a hand. “If it means I can disappear the bloody dragon forever, I am most happy to oblige.”
“No.” Sade glowered at the vampire. “Leave him alone, Sinjen.” She turned to the werewolf. “And that goes for you too, Caleb.”
Ariel arrived in a cloud of faerie dust. Caleb burst into a sneezing fit. “Sorry, not sorry,” the fae said with absolutely no remorse. Then he snapped his mouth shut as he stared at the nearby spectacle. He let out a long, low whistle. “What in the name of Oberon?”
“It’s the Concilium Magicae Christmas party for local magick children,” Roman explained. “With Santa MIA, the Drakon was pressed into service. Who better to wrangle the alligators that pull Papa Noel’s boat?”
Sade snapped pictures with her phone. “Evidence,” she explained to the gargoyle, with a wicked grin. “We all know it didn’t happen unless there are photos.”
250 Penumbra Papers free Christmas story WIP words
A holographic stream fluttered across Jane’s living room media center rudely interrupting her favorite holiday movie. She jumped up from the couch feeling a sense of dread.
The ominous message propelled Jane to her balcony high above the city. From fifty stories up she couldn’t distinguish Sphinx and Grit from anyone else on the street below. They were all ants. But she knew they were down there.
“Jeremy’s hired thugs,” she muttered out loud.
“Jane, what’s going on?” Gia asked. Gia was her best friend and roommate.
She pointed to the media screen. “It’s that bastard, Jeremy.”
“Jeremy? As in CEO of Apex Technologies, Jeremy? Your ex-lover, Jeremy?”
“That’s the one,” Jane said. “Where’s Sam?”
“Totally useless, I’m afraid. Burned out,” Gia frowned. “Poor AI. Any volunteers to put him out of his misery?”
“How can that be, Gia? The salesperson said Sam is the most advanced model in the Artificial Intelligence universe.”
“Sales people lie, Jane.”
Jane paced her spacious living room. She’d defied Jeremy. He’d gotten even when he framed her for murder and had her abducted by a drug cartel and taken to New Phoenix, the mining colony on Mars. Jeremy could do such things since Apex Technologies ruled America in the 23rd century.
“I have to get out of here, Gia.”
“Where will you go? There’s no place you can hide from Jeremy.”
“Maybe not. But I don’t intend to sit around waiting to die a gruesome death.” She embraced Gia. “I’m joining the resistance, Gia.”
250 Words (from my dystopian WIP)
Nolton stood over the man at his feet. He placed a boot on his head, turned his heel and pressed down.
“Let that be a lesson to you all. He thought he was the better man; thought I was finished. And yet, here he is, in the dirt, broken.” He studied the crowd, watching their faces, looking for the signs of another one who’d have the courage to challenge him.
There would be no more for a while. But there would be another. It might not be this week or the next, but eventually, there’d be someone who’d see a weakness to exploit. He knew them all well enough to have an advantage; he could take any one of them if he struck the first blow, just like he’d done here.
The man beneath his boot stiffened, his consciousness draining back.
“And yet he still lives. Should I be merciful? Or should I kill him? Maybe one of you could do the deed, try to earn a little favour. Maybe you, sir? Madam? Any volunteers to put him out of his misery?”
A man to the rear of the congregation turned away, his attention drawn by a movement in the corner. A door opened and a priest came in, swinging an incense burner.
“Stop,” he said. “Stop it now. Stop in the name of all that’s holy.”
Nolton stepped forward, contemptuously kicking the fallen man as he came down from the dais.
“The fun just keeps on coming,” he said.
250 words – twothirdsrasta.blogspot.com
I wanted to save him from himself; but was this really a life for a brave warrior like Cressi. I loved him and yet I feared what he would become would be uncontrollable. Who was I to judge though? I myself was a siren able to control and mold minds; but not his. A few of my brethren had asked, “Any volunteers to put him out of his misery?” when they had heard his cries of anguish and pain.
Was I just be selfish wanting to keep him close to me? The sounds of his bons elongating and changing had stopped and the cries of anguish had stopped I peered in. Cressi looked different. He held out his arms and extended his legs examining the changes. He called out to me softly saying, “It is finished my Melisandre, the curse has overcome me; can you accept me like this?”
“I love you Cressi! But I am a siren and not suited for you now.”
“Let me out and we will face our future together. You can drink of the potion that changed me. It will be painful, but then we will be together.”
I drank the potion. No one ever told me how hard it was to be human. Cressi and I struggle with this curse everyday. I cherish this life with Cressi and our children. The feelings are deeper, the sorrows greater; but being human is magical, family is everything. Every day, a gift ,when your immortality is gone.
250 words @SweetSheil
Myra White’s stomach twisted. Something was wrong. Very wrong.
Nauseating energy inundated the clearing. The summoning circle’s center bulged and finally broke. Gavin fumbled his reference book and Alvina her camera as they bumped into each other while trying to focus on the action. Dalton and Zorro were similarly disoriented. Even Myra felt like the world was spinning.
A bullheaded muscular man rose from the circle, ancient earth and rocks rolling off his dark head and broad shoulders. Dirt clogged moss draped between his legs in an approximation of a loincloth. Fully emerged, the Horned Hunter stood nearly two feet taller than even Dalton.
The Hunter threw his head back with a bellow that felt like poison blasting through Myra’s body.
“Send it back! Send it back!” Alvina kept her camera on the creature with one hand while fumbling with her utility belt with the other, despite looking green.
“I can’t!” Myra cursed while trying a generic counterspell. “The spell didn’t include a counter!”
The Hunter hefted a fallen tree with one hand and swung it overhead at Myra, who just managed to dive out of the way. Alvina’s taser darts glanced harmlessly over the creature’s skin. Dalton just managed to drag her and Gavin clear of the creature’s next attack.
“Any volunteers to put him out of his misery?” Dalton struggled to his feet despite the disorienting aura accompanying their angry assailant.
Myra steeled herself to conjure spectral chains to drag the minotaur spread-eagled back into the earth.
249 Menagerie words
There I was, standing in my backyard, reciprocating saw with a nine inch wood cutting blade in my hands. I’d plugged it into the 200 foot long extension cord that ran from the house.
It started 27 years ago, when the tree sprouted from the ground. She told me not to cut it. “Wait and see what it does.” Six months later, she declared it was a mimosa tree, and she liked it, and we were going to let it grow.
The years went by, and it grew like a weed. Must have reached 30 feet tall. Had three main branches from the trunk, and those had several branches of their own. For the first twenty years, it grew, and each year, it leafed out, and it filled the back yard with pink mimosa flowers, and hundreds of seed pods.
Until the year it stopped. That’s it. It just stopped. No leaves. No flowers. No seed pods. Nothing. The leaves all fell off for the winter, and they never came back.
I left it alone for years, because she’d told me not to cut it down all those years ago. But, finally, she decided it was dead, and needed to go.
Which was why I was standing there. Looking at that dead tree. And why I looked at the saw in my hands, and asked, “Any volunteers to put him out of his misery?”
The saw happily ripped that dead tree down.
“You went too far, Laurie.” I tightened my hands into fists. “You shouldn’t have come here and started shit. You should’ve just let me stay dead. I wasn’t hurting you or the family. Why didn’t you just let it go?”
“Because no one steals from Laurance Stratton, you dumb bitch!” He snarled as he jerked against Flint and Torch. They didn’t even move.
Fury surged but I simply tilted my head and raised an eyebrow. “What the fuck do you think I stole from you?”
“You stole my wife! You were mine, and you should’ve come back. No one takes anything from Laurance Stratton. No one!” He struggled to get out of the bigger men’s grips, but he couldn’t dislodge them.
Loki rested a hand on my shoulder and smirked. “No one takes from you, eh?” He nodded slowly. “This is where you’re wrong. We have decided you are done harassing our Viper. So you have a choice, because Viper requested this, ja? You have her to thank for it.”
“Oh yeah, what’s that?” Laurie sneered.
“You either officially declare your wife dead and move on with your pathetic life. Or you die.”
“Any volunteers to put him out of his misery?” Trigger smirked.
“I will.” Anubis’s deep voice filled the space and Laurie grew pale.
He stared up at Loki with dawning horror. “Wh-what? You can’t! Do you know who I am? You can’t kill me.”
Loki leaned forward into his space. “I can, I know, and he will.”
250 ineligible #ConcreteAngelsMC words
#ThursThreads is now CLOSED. Thanks to everyone who wrote this week and I hope to see you next week.